How to Build Arm Muscles with CrossFit Training

Tips to Build Arm Muscles Fast!

To Build Arm Muscles successfully such as the muscles in your Biceps, Triceps, forearms and shoulders requires a couple of things. What you may be surprised to hear is that Arm Exercises themselves have lesser importance to develop the arms than other aspects which we will discuss in more detail below.

Best Exercises to Build Big Arms

After speaking with a range of people at the crossFit gym last weekend a common misunderstanding about building bigger arms is that specific arm exercises such as triceps pushdowns, biceps curls, forearm raises are the most important to reach this goal.

Example video showing triceps pushdowns

What you may be surprised to hear thought is that these exercises that are totally unrelated to the arms are actually the best to see significant grown, for example, if you want to add an inch to your biceps then the best way to go about this is actually by doing heavy squats twice a week. You either hate or love squats. Personally, though I love squats simply because of the sheer stress they place on the central nervous system which releases growth hormone that forces every muscle in the body to grow including the arm muscles! It is for this reason why squats and another compound movements like shoulder presses, bench presses, deadlifts, rows and so on should be a part of your arsenal to build bigger arms.

While saying this I wouldn’t totally disregard specific arm exercises. I would also include them in my crossFit routine but I’d have them as a secondary exercise. The compound exercises should make up the foundations or your crossFit workout as they are going to be the major mass builders however, I would then cap these exercises off by including specific arm exercises at the end of the crossFit workout.

For instance, dips and triceps pushdowns to build the tricep arm muscles, barbell curls and preacher curls to build the biceps and forearms raises to develop the forearms.

Barbell curls video example

A common mistake people make when trying to build arm muscles is that they over train them in the knowledge that the harder they work these muscle groups the more they will grow. Unfortunately this is not true! You must give your muscles time to repair. As a rule of thumb you should only train biceps and triceps specifically twice a week at the very most.

Also, you should give 48 hours before you train biceps or triceps again.

Eat to Build Big Arms

To build muscle you need to eat more than you require each day and enough protein to keep the muscles of the body in an anabolic (muscle building) state right throughout the day. The same is true for Building the arm muscles.

If you aren’t feeding your muscles the right food on a regular basis then I’m afraid you just won’t much (if any) improvement to your arms.

You can do all the training you like but if you are not getting good nutritious, regular meals then I’m afraid to say that your arms won’t grow.

By this I mean 6 filling meals per day with a good lean protein source in every meal such as turkey breasts, steak, fish or whey protein powder.

Stretching Exercises before a Crossfit Session

To stretch or not to stretch?

This question may have popped up in your mind numerous times. Believe it or not stretching is overly underemphasised in training, whereas it should have been otherwise.

What might be familiar to you all is walking in to the crossfit gym and instantly weight lifting without doing anything to prepare yourself the stress and intensity of the WOD. You mostly been skip it because either you might have never been taught its value or because you have been too lazy up till now. Trust me, all it takes is a bit of time and the results are totally worth it.

Stretching Exercises before a Crossfit Session

Benefits of Stretching before Crossfit

Stretching before Crossfit has its underestimated benefits. It aids in activating enzymes in your body which in turn helps in stimulating major biomechanical functions. The body temperature is also elevated creating a positive pressure between the muscles and bloodstream. This allows more oxygen to go where it is needed. Furthermore, the entire cardiovascular system is also enhanced, as the arteries, veins and capillaries will then deliver nutrients and carry away waste products more expeditiously. In addition to this, there are also pros for the nervous system, as according to a research a higher core temperature clearsthe way for the body to be able to read and receive nerveimpulses. Above all, the most significant plus is injury prevention. As, the body temperature rises muscle viscosity decreases and the blood saturation of the muscle and connective tissue increases. This enables the muscles to be more elastic, meaning less chances of sprains and strains.

Two Types of Stretching

  1. Static stretching is used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest. It should be done post-crossfit WOD, as it improves flexibility and cools your body down after you exercise. It is not preferable before exercising because it usually relaxes the muscles and turns them off. You certainly do not need your muscles to sleep when you hear the 3-2-1-go!
  2. Dynamic stretching is ideal prior to exercise as it closely mimics movement made during the exercise and takes your joint or a muscle through a challenging and repetitive motion, for optimal activation. This may be especially useful in the case of preparing for athletic events.

Tips for better Pre-WOD stretching

  1. Slow and steady wins the race

Do not stretch cold muscles, as this can cause injury. It is necessary for you to warm up first by walking or a light jog. A 400m Run, 500m Row, or 2 minutes of jump rope will do.

  1. Consistency

Make sure that you stretch out daily and make it part of your routine. This will allow you to build greater flexibility and range of motion.

  1. Variety

Consistency is important but so is variety. It is vital to have diversity in your stretching routine. You might find it easy to fall in to a repetitive pattern but this can become boring for you and reduces the effectiveness of your stretching program. You need to mix up new stretching techniques to challenge both your body and mind.

  1. Adjust with your Workout for the day

If it calls for greater intensity, add in extra stretches and make sure you pay more attention to certain body parts which will be used more in the WOD. Such as in the case of heavy squats, you need to work on hamstrings, hip flexors and lower back. This ensures that the body is adequately prepared for whatever workout lies ahead.

  1. Avoid Painful stretching

Remember that these are just warm up exercises; the real intense workouts are on their way. So, they are supposed to be relaxing and effective in helping you begin your workout. It certainly is not the case of stretch until it hurts. Move slowly and gently because moving quickly can cause muscle tears and strains that will side line you from your workouts.

  1. Do not hold your breath

Holding your breath can cause tension in your muscles, which will make it very difficult for you to stretch. Breathe slowly and easily in order to promote blood flow, relax your muscles and increase the delivery of oxygen and valuable nutrients back to your muscles.

Official Crossfit Warm up –Samson Stretch

Firstly, interlace your fingers, turning palms outward and locking your arms. Now, push your arms upwards horizontally, perpendicular to floor and turned towards the ceiling. Remember to keep your gaze ahead and close the space between your head and arms by raising your shoulders. Then, step forward into a lunge position with the trailing leg’s knee touching the ground. Now, stretch your arms and sink into the lunge. After maintaining balance for three to five seconds, repeat on the other side with your other leg.

After 30 seconds of Samson Stretch, you can do overhead Squat, sit ups, back Extensions, pull ups and dips.

So Stretch!

The CrossFit Basics of Strength and Muscle Growth Part Two

This is part two check out part one here

An increase in the number of myofibrils is what is called “myofibrillar hypertrophy”, and is what you want to get from your training, because, to recap:

More myofibrils -> bigger muscle fibers -> stronger and bigger muscles.

How to cause myofibrillar hypertrophy?

By exercise and adequate nutrition. Duh. When you exercise at the crossfit workout besides weight training, your muscle fibers perform work. To perform work, they need a steady supply of energy. When you use weights that are heavy, your muscles will have to expend more energy, and the usual supply of it will not be enough. To balance things out, the proteins which make up myofibrils will start to break down for energy, destroying myofibrils. This typically occurs when the weight is large enough so that you can’t use it for more than 10 reps. The whole thing is a gradient, of course. The breakdown doesn’t suddenly start at your 10 rep maximal weight. It just becomes noticeable and pronounced. So basically, when you exercise, you do it to break down your own muscles.

Shocking, right?

This simple truth raises questions as all truths seem to do in modern times. Why crossfit exercise at all when it results in the breakdown of your muscels? What happens when you do more than 8 reps or even build it up to 15+?  How do you actually build muscle when exercising breaks them down?

Well, after your precious myofibrils get broken down, your body actually tries to compensate for this. It takes amino acids floating around and builds proteins which are in turn used to build more myofibrils. That’s why you want to get a lot of protein if you lift weights like all top body building athletes, and that (in part) is why you are weaker after a crossfit workout. Your muscles need time to rebuild themselves. If you workout hard and then don’t get adequate rest and nutrition, your muscles break down, but can’t be rebuilt as quickly.

This article should mostly serve as the basis for the following articles I will publish later. However, it’s not without a practical lesson. Which is:

CrossFit Basics of Strength and Muscle

Proper nutrition and rest are more important to being strong than working out.

By proper nutrition and rest we mean enough calories to cover your energy proteins, 8-9 hours of sleep each day, and getting 2g of protein per kilo of your weight. There is a hypothesis that if you only count quality protein, such as the protein found in meat, eggs, and so on, you can lower the ratio to a 1g of protein per kg of weight but everybody is different and doing your own testing is important.
For my own body this did work well but I still try to mix my nutrition intake up every month so my body notices the new food and drinks, this from my own experience works very well and I would advise anyone to try to do the same.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and if you have any questions please feel free to speak you mind in the comments section below, also if you have enjoyed this article please share it on your social media profiles.

The CrossFit Basics of Strength and Muscle Growth

If you want to be serious about weight training, you want to be able to tailor routines to you. All people are different, cliché as that may sound. All people are different, their bodies are different, and their goals differ, too.

There’s no cookie cutter routine out there that can turn everyone into a strongman or crossfit champion. Your body has its pros, and chances are, there are cons too. What this means is that past the beginner stage, when pretty much any routine works, you’ll want to take a good hard look at what you are trying to accomplish, and at the routines offered for that goal. And chances are, you will have to experiment. You’ll have to find out what works for you, and what doesn’t. If you want to do this efficiently, and distinguish gimmick routines from those that actually work, you’ll have to understand the basic theoretical concepts behind strength and muscle building.

Don’t worry, it’s not that hard, and you won’t even have to look in the dictionary. For starters, let’s look at what actually comprises strength. In order for you to move a heavy load, you must have four things:

  • Adequately strong muscles
  • The muscles have to have proper energy resources
  • Intramuscular coordination must be good enough
  • Intermuscular coordination, if needed, must be good enough.

What makes a muscle strong?

The simple answer to the question is, size does. The bigger the muscle, the stronger it is. This relationship is not really precise, though. It would be better to say that the strength of a muscle is directly proportionate to the filament area density of the muscle. Uh-oh, an unfamiliar term. Fortunately, we are going to explain that for you, even though the explanation might be a bit long.

CrossFit Basics of Strength and Muscle

You see, your muscle consists of a number of strands, or fibers. These fibers are essentially long, cylindrical cells. The fibers in turn are made of many strands of myofibrils. Myofibrils are further made of actin and myosin proteins. The break down can be continued, but we don’t have to worry about it for the sake of this article. We are going to talk about myofibrils.

Myofibrils are the strings that contract. You decide to curl a weight. Your CNS sends signals to the myofibrils that compose the biceps brachii muscle. The myofibrils synchronously contract. You curl the weight. Seems simple, right? That’s because it is. Let’s go further.

The strength of the muscle is determined by the size and number of its fibers. The number of fibers is hard to increase, and going for it impractical. Thus, the strength of the muscle is determined by the size of its fibers. The size of the fiber is determined by the number of myofibrils that compose it. Seems clear now, right? To get your muscles stronger, you want to increase the number and size of your fibers, which can be done by increasing the number of myofibrils.

Check out the rest of this article part two

Top 10 things I love about Crossfit training

Do you want to turn your fitness dream into reality?

If your answer is yes, then maybe it is time that you joined the fastest training trend known as CrossFit. Crossfit exercises are measurable, attainable, and most importantly: they work! Still unconvinced? Let me tell you the top ten things I love you about Crossfit training.

Top 10 things I love about Crossfit training

1. Get fitter, faster Not all of you can commit a lot of hours a week for the gym, spend a whole hour on a treadmill or go on a five to six mile jog five days a week. But what you can do is try out the short, varied and high-intensity Crossfit Workouts of the Day (WODs) and still get physiological benefits faster than any other one type of exercise at a low or moderate intensity. With this, you can boost your metabolism and transform your body from flab to fab by simply pushing the physical limits of your body far beyond the point of average. The result would be better fitness and stronger muscles–with the bonus point of lesser time.

2. Multidimensional CrossFit’s specialty is not specializing; it is multidimensional. You are not just required to climb stairs or lift weights anymore; but can now follow a program consisting of varied exercises such as Olympic weightlifting, calisthenics, gymnastics, plyometric and sprints; all that not only improve your overall health and functionality, but also increase your strength, endurance, flexibility and agility. Crossfit is a well-rounded workout, so you would not even get bored and your interest level stays up. What better way to achieve excellence in fitness?

3. It is for everyone Anyone can use the CrossFit program due to its ability to be adapted to any skill and fitness level. Power lifters make use of the Olympic lifting components, athletes can learn how to vary their fitness routines and normal people like you and me who have never exercised before can finally get to know what we are capable of. Even those with chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes can try it out.

4. Heart’s best friend High Intensity Interval Training such as CrossFit is recommended for cardiovascular health. It increases your cardiovascular fortitude, reduces risk of stroke and heart attack, improves insulin sensitivity, decreases risk of diabetes and enhances your memory and brain functions.

5. Become Stronger! Another plus is the amazing body you have after these workouts. You can definitely build very strong muscles and much faster. It challenges your muscles regularly in various ways with squat jumps, hang cleans, power cleans, burpees, pull ups, handstand push ups, sprints and kettlebell swings. All these are beneficial to efficiently grow and change the muscles. Furthermore, not only your only your muscle mass will improve, but you will also burn fat and stay far away from obesity.

Top 10 things I love about Crossfit training

6. Weakness Can’t Hide None of your weakness can hide any more. As Crossfit is an ultimate jack of all trades, nothing gets left behind. Your endurance, cardio and conditioning will all be exposed. It will allow your body to be prepared for any and all fitness activities and you will develop an improved ability to pull, push, squat, dead lift, jump and throw.

7. Prepare your Body for other sports Crossfit exercises help you excel in sports such as swimming or basketball by helping you improve your respiratory fitness, stamina, strength, coordination, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance and accuracy. All this aids you in becoming a competitive player and even a professional one.

8. Be part of a community When you join a Crossfit gym, you actually join a community. Everyone has the same goal: to get in the best shape possible. In it you are competing against yourself not others, thus you give and receive encouragement and find help in pushing your boundaries. It certainly feels great to have support from those who understand your fitness goals.

9. Be a better, more confident person Stronger muscles, strength and fitness help you generate power, which in turn boosts your self-confidence, makes you more competitive, gives you a whole new group of friends and above all put a smile on your face! The time you spend in your WOD is your prime “me” time. You overcome your fears, practice patience and become diligent by trying outing new exercises like wall-assisted handstands and jumping rope. Pushing your limits is also a skill and Crossfit exercises give you the opportunity to practice it. Crossfit can be one of the best investments in your career, your relationships, your health and in the grooming of your personality. You just need to create it to be that way.

10. Not just for men! CrossFit is a rapidly growing worldwide and is bringing attention to a kind of beauty that has historically been considered too masculine. Lifting, muscles and strength are becoming attractive traits, regardless of gender. Crossfit is not just a guy thing anymore and is also drawing in women, who want all round body toning. So, are you up for taking the intensity of CrossFit has to offer?